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I have several reports set up and found recently that if I need to change a column name, the reports don't automatically see that I changed the column name and are now blank because they're looking for the old column name. It seems like this must be currently by design, so I'd like to request that Reports use column IDs instead and then display the current column name so that changinging column names won't break reports in the future. This change would be entirely transparent to the user. I would like to change several column names, but currently won't so that I don't have to go back and check all reports to see which ones don't work anymore. I can't even begin to imagine the complications with this in a large organization with hundreds of reports.

Functionality

Comments

And there is no easy way to determine if a Report is displaying a specific column or not. 

 

When building out your system, nail down your column names as soon as possible - it will save you headaches later.

 

Also be aware the SheetA may have a Contact List type column for "Name" and SheetB may have a Text/Number type column for "Name" and these are different columns in the Report Builder. I had an example where they would both show up in the "What?" criteria, but it escapes me at the moment.


Craig

Agreed, this is a really annoying "feature" in Smartsheet. It seems really odd that the reports identify their source fields by their name rather than by a hidden "identifier". 

 

There are frequent use cases where column names may need to change on a regular basis, for instance when developing a new programme and testing ease of use of reports with different stakeholders. it is very annoying to have to manually remove and add the fields each time to multiple reports.

 

Enhancement request please!!

Hi All—

 

I've got your vote down for Reports to maintain their column references even after the column name in the source sheet changes.

Thank you, Shaine. I definitely see the challenge in this when multiple sheets are aggregated to one report based on a column name and then the column name changes in only one sheet or even is changed to different names across multiple sheets and we still want those columns to appear in the report, but I think it's a challenge worth tackling.

 

One approach is to add the ability to change the column name across sheets from the report, so that way column names always remain consistent across reports and sheets. This might be simpler than trying to completely change your report aggregation logic. That would work for me, but I don't know if other customers would feel the same way. I would think that this ability would then have to be restriced to Admins.

Side note:  I use hidden columns and of course those column names appear in the report config dropdown box, which confuses end users.  

 

I have taken to using a prefix on my hidden column names so they appear as: "Z - Column Name".  This neatly stacks those columns at the bottom of the report picker drop down and I tell the end user to ignore those "system level columns".  This always impresses and they leave them alone.....

My two cents is that workflow design is NOT a one way or one time process, and changes are only natural as use-cases evolve.  In another post/topic related to this issue, a Smartsheet rep responded essentially by preaching the importance of upfront workflow design.  But the answer to this issue is not "be more careful".  I'd like to see more versatility in this software so that my organization doesn't need to commit a process designed on day 1 in order to avoid updating >25 reports.

+1 vote for being able to change column names without breaking everything.